How past Heisman votes would have changed after bowls

Detractors slam the Heisman Trophy voting for politics and unwritten

rules that limit who can win. Altering mindsets can be difficult, but

what’s far easier to change is simply getting with the

times.

Bowl games aren’t taken into account in the

balloting process, with votes due the Monday after the conference

championship games. It’s an archaic stance when you consider the NCAA

began including stats from the postseason in a player’s yearly total

back in 2002.

There are no plans or even rumblings to

bump the ceremony from its stage on the second Saturday of December,

but if history is any indication, it’s a notion that would truly impact

the proceedings.

Looking back over the last 20

years, seven races in particular would have had very different outcomes

if voting was completed until after the bowl

games.

1995

Who

Would Have Won: Tommie

Frazier

Actual

Voting
1. Eddie George, RB Ohio State:

1,460 points
2. Tommie Frazier, QB Nebraska: 1,196

points
3. Danny Wuerffel, QB Florida: 987

points

Eddie George edged Tommie Frazier by 264

points to win, largely behind his Heisman moment of 314 yards against

Illinois. But it would have been hard to argue with the player that

finished behind George becoming the winner had he the benefit of his own

Heisman moment.

While George ran for 101 yards and a

touchdown on 25 carries in the Citrus Bowl, he also fumbled as Ohio

State fell 20-14. Meanwhile, Frazier ran for 199 yards and had TD runs

of 35 and 75 yards — the ladder would have been the cornerstone of his

campaign as he shed seven tacklers — also threw for 105 yards and a

score as Nebraska beat No. 2 Florida 62-24 to win the national

title.

Had bowl stats counted, George would have been

the sixth player in history to go over 2,000 yards rushing, a figure

that certainly have resonated with voters. But it’s hard to argue that

Frazier ended with a performance that was more

Heisman-worthy.

2000

Who

Would Have Won: Josh

Heupel

Actual

Voting
1. Chris Weinke, QB Florida State:

1,628 points
2. Josh Heupel, QB Oklahoma: 1,552

points
3. Drew Brees, QB Purdue: 619

points

Weinke’s regular-season numbers were startling

as he threw for 4,167 yards and 33 TDs, though would they have been

enough after he was upset by Heupel and the Sooners in the BCS title

game?

It’s not that Heupel was that better than

Weinke head-to-head, the Sooner was 25 of 39 for 214 yards and a pick in

a 13-2 win, while Weinke threw two interceptions — including one in

the end zone with 16 seconds remaining — to go with 274 yards (25 of

51) and a fumble. But it was Weinke’s first game that season without a

TD pass and he had his lowest completion percentage at 49.0.

Weinke’s stats may have still won out, but a shaky

performance as he and his team fell flat in the biggest game of the year

would likely have tipped things in an already tight race in favor of

Heupel, who led the Sooners to a 13-0

season.

2001

Who

Would Have Won: Ken

Dorsey

Actual

Voting
1. Eric Crouch, QB Nebraska: 770

points
2. Rex Grossman, QB Florida: 708 points
3. Ken

Dorsey, QB Miami: 638 points

In the sixth-closes race

in history, Crouch edged Grossman by 62 points, while Dorsey was just

132 behind in third. A post-bowls voting could have created a similarly

tough decision for pollsters, though it likely wouldn’t have ended with

Crouch on top.

The Cornhusker ran for 114 yards on 25

carries and was 5-for-15 for 62 yards and a pick-six in the BCS title

game, where Crouch was upstaged by Dorsey, who threw for 362 yards and

three scores in Miami’s 37-14 win.

Meanwhile,

Grossman pass for 248 yards and four TDs in 56-23 rout of Maryland in

the Orange Bowl, a game he didn’t enter until the 6:03 mark in the

second quarter for missing curfew, (which makes you wonder if Steve

Spurrier would have done so if a Heisman was on the

line?).

A Grossman-Dorsey debate would have been an

intriguing one after their dominant bowl performances, but that Dorsey’s

came in delivering a title, he gets the make-believe

nod.



2003

Who

Would Have Won: Eli

Manning

Actual

Voting
1. Jason White, QB Oklahoma:

1,481
2. Larry Fitzgerald, WR Pitt: 1,353
3. Eli

Manning, QB Ole Miss: 710

Manning may seem like a

stretch considering it was Fitzgerald that was 128 points behind White,

while the Ole Miss QB managed just 95 of the 1,245 first-place votes.

But after the bowls, Manning may have won by a process of

elimination.

White struggled in a 21-14 loss to LSU

in the Sugar Bowl, throwing for 102 yards (13 of 37) with two picks, one

of which was returned for a score. Then there was Fitzgerald, who had

five receptions for 77 yards as Pitt dropped the Continental Tire Bowl

23-16 to Virginia.

All Manning did was pass for 259

yards (22 of 31) with two TDs and he ran for scores to beat Oklahoma

State 31-28 in the Cotton Bowl. It was the Rebels’ first bowl win since

the 1970 Sugar Bowl, a game in which Eli’s dad, Archie, starred. Don’

think that synergy wouldn’t have driven a narrative all its

own.

2005

Who

Would Have Won: Vince

Young

Actual

Voting
1. Reggie Bush, RB USC:

2,541
2. Vince Young, QB Texas: 1,608
3. Matt Leinart,

QB USC: 797

This obviously could have saved a lot of

future headaches, as Bush returned his trophy, which now sits

in a New York storage

unit.

Bush, who claimed 91.7

percent of the total points and 784 of the 892 first-place votes, was at

his all-purpose best in the BCS title game against Young and the

Longhorns. He totaled 279 yards, 82 rushing and a TD, 95 receiving and

102 on kick returns, but while he was great, Young was simply

captivating.

The Texas QB had 267 yards passing and

200 yards rushing with three TDs, highlighted by the game-winner with 19

seconds left, producing arguably the greatest title game performance of

the BCS era.

It would have been stunning had Young

not won after that display.

Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden was a two-time runner-up,

though he may have claimed a Heisman after 2006 winner Troy Smith’s BCS

title-game woes. (Photo courtesy of University of

Arkansas)

2006

Who

Would Have Won: Darren

McFadden

Actual

Voting
1. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State:

2,540
2. Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas: 878
3. Brady

Quinn, QB Notre Dame: 782

The 60 percent margin of

victory is the largest in history, but its doubtful Smith would have

even won after the Buckeyes were dominated by Florida in the BCS title

game.

He threw for a mere 35 yards (4 of 14) and a

pick and had minus-29 rushing yards as Ohio State was thumped 41-14 by

Florida.

Remember, the Buckeyes were a seven-point

favorite in that game and were subsequently held to a paltry 82 yards of

offense. The thought of still giving Smith the Heisman after that would

have been a difficult one.

But if not Smith, who

would have won? Here’s where things get murky amid that year’s

finalists.

McFadden had 89 rushing yards on 19

carries in a 17-14 loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, and Quinn

didn’t fare much better. He threw for 228 yards, two picks and two INTs

as the Fighting Irish fell to LSU 41-14 in the Sugar

Bowl.

Smith’s overall stats (2,542 yards and 30 TDs)

weren’t otherworldly, making it most likely McFadden, who produced the

fifth-highest rushing season in SEC history (1,647), would have been the

pick.

2008

Who

Would Have Won: Tim

Tebow

Actual

Voting
1. Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma:

1,726
2. Colt McCoy, QB Texas: 1,604
3. Tim Tebow, QB

Florida: 1,575

Despite receiving more first-place

votes than anyone — he drew 309 to Bradford’s 300 and McCoy’s 266 —

Tebow finished in third. He also had the most third-places (234),

extremes that spoke to two points: 1. Enough voters threw their support

behind Tebow that it was clear that if they were ready to anoint anyone

as the second two-time winner, it was him; and 2. There will still just

enough of a stigma surrounding his repeat bid that some were waiting for

him to one-up himself.

He would have surely have

appeased his doubters in the BCS title game where he got the best of

Bradford, accounting for 340 of offense (231 passing and 109 rushing)

and threw for two scores in beating the Sooners

24-14.

That win made Tebow the fifth player since

1950 with a Heisman and two national titles, joining Bush, Matt Leinart,

Gino Torretta and Johnny Rodgers. Only Leinart from that group had a

chance at trophy No. 2, and in all likelihood, Tebow would have gotten

it, with a chance at an unprecedented third as a senior.